PlusTV tours the Sarstoon Temash National Park with SATIIM


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vlcsnap-2013-09-03-09h42m04s214The two-day media tour of the Sarstoon Temash National Park and surrounding buffer communities got off to a late start on Friday due to unforeseen circumstances, but in the afternoon the group set off for the Temash River and the entrance to the Temash 2 drill site operated by US Capital Energy. For much of the year the area is under high water, sometimes chest high, and for the first time the press got to see it for themselves. According to SATIIM executive director Gregory Ch’oc, as it pertains to the search for petroleum, their environmental concerns are yet to be addressed.

Gregory Ch’oc – Executive director SATIIM:

vlcsnap-2013-09-03-09h44m28s115We cannot do as if though this is highlands.  I have noticed that US Capital Energy have made submission to the Supreme Court of images and pictures of the oil wells in Spanish Lookout.  Many of you have been to Spanish Lookout.  You tell me if this is what Spanish Lookout land looks like.  When there is an oil spill, where do Us Capital and Government begin to contain the spread of oil.  That is fundamentally important for the communities that rely on the resources of this region.   Our livelihood is on the land, our medicine, we gather, we hunt, we fish, we bathe, we drink, from these lands. It’s fundamentally important the Government and US Capital take measures to protect and safeguard those assets.

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After wading for more than 45 minutes the team arrived at the drill site. Police on patrol in the river allowed journalists to pass with a mere warning to be careful, but site engineer Nuani Cayetano appeared somewhat reluctant to entertain the press’ questions. Here is that statement and the reply from Greg Ch’oc.

Gregory Ch’oc – Executive director SATIIM:

nuani.sept2.13vlcsnap-2013-09-03-09h59m08s208So we came on this route because I refuse to have Government, and anybody else, what door I should enter my house.  This is the homeland of the Indigenous people.  They can enter wherever, whenever, they decide to.  This is the fundamental challenge that we trying to resolve here.  I think, and as we go to the communities tomorrow, this will be echoed.  So, that is the answer to the question that Mr  Cayetano from US Capital asked, why didn’t we go through the office.

The press were allowed to freely film around the area and the team left around 4:00 p.m. for Barranco and Midway. Later we will have reaction from those communities where Maya villagers and leaders got to speak for themselves for the first time.

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